News, Culture & Society

‘Welcome to the city of violence:’ NYC police union lashes mayor as driver shot in Upper East Side

One of New York City’s leading police unions has branded the Big Apple ‘the city of violence’ while attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio over a 72 per cent spike in shootings. 

The Sergeant’s Benevolent Association (SBA) – which represents more than 11,000 current and past NYPD officers, tweeted: ‘Welcome to the city of violence’ while attacking de Blasio for investing $30 million on boosting tourism instead of tackling crime. 

They spoke out as an unnamed 20-year-old man was shot and killed in broad daylight near Manhattan’s Park Avenue on Monday.

Monday’s shooting – said to be linked to a cannabis deal gone wrong – came at the end of a week that saw 50 people shot across the city.

That is a 257 per cent spike from the same time last year, when the pandemic forced New Yorkers into their homes.

From 12am on Friday until midnight on Sunday, 31 people were wounded in 28 shootings, and six killed.   

A New York police officer inspects the car where a 20-year-old man was killed on East 95th St near Lexington and Park Avenue on Monday during a suspected drug deal gone wrong 

Police cordon off the scene of Monday's fatal shooting. Park Avenue is visible at the top of the hill. The leafy neighborhood is full of multimillion-dollar homes

Police cordon off the scene of Monday’s fatal shooting. Park Avenue is visible at the top of the hill. The leafy neighborhood is full of multimillion-dollar homes

A police officer stands guard in the Upper East Side on Monday afternoon after the shooting, just across the street from a Honda belonging to the victim

A police officer stands guard in the Upper East Side on Monday afternoon after the shooting, just across the street from a Honda belonging to the victim

The dented front of the Upper East Side victim's car. It's unclear if the damage is connected

The dented front of the Upper East Side victim’s car. It’s unclear if the damage is connected

The neighborhood is home to famous faces including Bette Midler, with the SBA union claiming Mayor Bill de Blasio's policies have cause crime to rocket

The neighborhood is home to famous faces including Bette Midler, with the SBA union claiming Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policies have cause crime to rocket 

De Blasio oversaw in June a $1 billion reduction in New York Police Department’s $6 billion budget, at the height of the ‘defund the police’ protests.

The deal involved moving school safety agents, who are unarmed but wear police uniforms, into the Department of Education; canceling a July class of roughly 1,100 police recruits; and shifting certain homeless outreach operations away from police control. 

Critics say it has made the city less safe. De Blasio has been met with widespread disdain by New York’s officers, and will complete his second and final term as mayor in office in November. 

The wealthy Manhattan enclave was taped off on Monday afternoon following the shooting

The wealthy Manhattan enclave was taped off on Monday afternoon following the shooting

So far this year 416 people have been shot citywide, compared to 242 by the same time last year – a 72 per cent increase, according to Fox News. 

Murders are up by nine per cent, with 120 recorded through April 25, compared to 110 over the same timeframe last year.

The Upper East Side shooting happened at 2:10pm on Monday afternoon, on East 95th and Lexington Avenue – an area that Bette Midler, Jimmy Choo founder Tamara Mellon and late artist Mark Rothko all called home.

The unnamed victim was shot in a parked car.

Police suspect that it was a marijuana deal gone wrong, and say a large bag of it was found inside the victim’s car. Possession of the drug is legal in the state, but selling it is not.

‘There is a considerable amount of marijuana in the car. They haven’t gotten to it yet because they need a warrant,’ a police source told the Daily News. 

The victim was sitting in the back of the car when he was shot.

The gunman got inside the car, and shot him in the heart, then got out and ran away.

The driver of the vehicle, and the front seat passenger, were questioned by police. 

The victim was taken to Mount Sinai Morningside, but could not be saved.

The weekend began with another shooting, of a 35-year-old who stopped to ask if a man was OK, before being shot and killed.

Jason Rivera was shot and killed in the Parkchester area of the Bronx at 11:42pm on Friday

Jason Rivera was shot and killed in the Parkchester area of the Bronx at 11:42pm on Friday

Jason Rivera, a father of three whose wife is expecting twins, was murdered in the Parkchester area of the Bronx at 11:42pm on Friday.

His last words, caught on security camera, were him bending over a man slumped on a bench.

‘You good?’ he asked the man, described by the New York Daily News as a 43-year-old disturbed man, who had been seen behaving erratically in a nearby park. ‘You OK?’

The cameras caught sight of a man walking past them, having arrived in a Mercedes SUV.

He then doubled back, and shot and killed Rivera.

Rivera, who had recently relocated from the street where he was killed in the Bronx to Staten Island, was described by his wife as having ‘a good heart’.

Shantay White, 30, told the Daily News that his death while helping someone else did not surprise her.

‘He’s always been like that,’ said White. ‘People know him over there for that. People just know him, period, for that.’

Rivera and White are parents to a seven-year-old girl, three-year-old girl and two-year-old boy.

White, who met Rivera on the block where they lived until two years ago, and where he was killed, said he had issues with some people in the neighborhood.

But, she added, she did not believe it was anything serious.

‘It wasn’t to where it had to be something like this,’ she said.

‘His beef was minor beef, like guy beef stuff, you know. It wasn’t something for somebody to have that much hatred, to take their time to sit and actually wait for him.’

She said she was shocked at the crime.

‘There were kids in the park.

‘The block that it happened on seemed kind of busy at the time. It seemed like people were outside.

‘And for the person to just walk away and go back the same way.’

Meanwhile, a former police officer was shot by a stray bullet in Red Hook, Brooklyn on Saturday.

The 30 year-old woman, who retired from the NYPD after seven years service – was hit after a group of men got turned away from a party at an events venue, and began shooting. 

She is expected to recover from her wounds.  

PICTURED: 61-year-old Asian man in critical condition and in a coma after he endured a brutal curb stomping in NYC while collecting cans 

A photo from the hospital room of a 61-year-old Asian man, who was nearly stomped to death in New York City late last week, shows the aftermath of the attack. 

Yao Pan Ma was left in critical condition and placed in a medically induced coma after an unidentified attacker stomped on his head at least six times. 

Police sources told the New York Post that Ma suffered a cerebral contusion and facial fractures, and the photo shows him hooked up to medical gear in the hospital.

‘When I saw him in the hospital … his face, I cried. I still cry,’ his wife Baozhen Chen told the outlet on Saturday. ‘I hope he wakes up and talks to me and gets better and comes home. It’s really hard to believe.’  

A GoFundMe was set up by Pam Yang, a Chinese-American NYC native, to raise money for his medical bills and to support his family. 

As of 4 p.m. Monday, the online fundraiser raised just under $100,000, about $50,000 short of its goal.  

  

Police sources told the New York Post that Ma suffered a cerebral contusion and facial fractures - and a photo Chen provided the outlet shows him hooked up to medical gear in the hospital.

Police sources told the New York Post that Ma suffered a cerebral contusion and facial fractures – and a photo Chen provided the outlet shows him hooked up to medical gear in the hospital.

Yao Pan Ma and his wife Baozhen Chen Ma, who have two adult children, moved to New York from China’s Guangdong province in 2019.

Yao Pan Ma and his wife Baozhen Chen Ma, who have two adult children, moved to New York from China’s Guangdong province in 2019. 

Ma was pushing his cart and collecting recyclables in Harlem to help his family make ends meet after losing his job as a dishwasher during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ma was ‘minding his business with his shopping cart,’ witness Armetha Knight, 37, told the New York Daily News, before a man came up behind him, knocked him over, kicked him in the head at least six times and then walked away. 

Ma and his wife, who have two adult children, moved to New York from China’s Guangdong province in 2019 looking for better work opportunities, Chen told the Daily News. 

The entire attack was caught on video, and the NYPD said it’s investigating the assault as a potential hate crime. 

No arrests have been made as of Monday evening. Police released photos of the suspect.  

The NYPD are looking for the man pictured here in connection with Ma's assault.

The NYPD are looking for the man pictured here in connection with Ma’s assault. 

If anyone has information about Ma's attack or the person shown here, the NYPD is asking you to call its tip line (listed in the top right corner).

If anyone has information about Ma’s attack or the person shown here, the NYPD is asking you to call its tip line (listed in the top right corner). 

The horrific video shows the suspect slamming his foot down on Ma's head while his shopping cart full of recyclables sits nearby

The horrific video shows the suspect slamming his foot down on Ma’s head while his shopping cart full of recyclables sits nearby

The attacker was then seen casually walking away and no arrests had been made as of late Monday afternoon.

The attacker was then seen casually walking away and no arrests had been made as of late Monday afternoon. 

The assault on Ma is just a recent example in an alarming spike anti-Asian hate crimes that first started in at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April 2020.

A report from the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, found that anti‐Asian hate crimes surged 149 percent while overall hate crime dropped 7 percent in 2020.

The report indicated that the rise in anti-Asian crimes was attributed to ‘a rise in COVID cases and negative stereotyping of Asians relating to the pandemic.’ 

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly called COVID-19 the ‘Chinese virus,’ which some have charged led to the increased vitriol against Asians.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk